Thursday, August 28, 2014
Mark worked from home this morning and we were able to hit the road headed north promptly at noon. There was quite a lot of traffic for a Thursday afternoon, lots of campers, so I guess plenty of other people had the same idea we did – to get a jumpstart on the long holiday weekend. We made good time and our only delay was stopping at a few garage sales along M33.
We came in through Pleasant Valley and Elk Valley and when we finally turned into our driveway, the sight that met our eyes broke my heart. They have clear-cut to the very back edge of our property. We have known this was coming for more than a year now, but the stark reality was almost too much to bear. I used to see a solid wall of trees when looking out my kitchen window, now there’s way too much daylight.
In comparison, this is last September. Not a good photo (I was still using my Kodak then), but it gives you an idea of the difference in view.
It put both us of in a terrible mood and was not a good way to start off our weekend. After that it seemed like one small thing after another went “wrong”, adding to our stress. We had forgotten to set up our various mousetraps before we left last time and certainly “while the beagles were away, the mice did play” and I had plenty of messes to clean up.
Mark had bought a new, more powerful weed trimmer with a bush whacking attachment so went out to burn off some of his fury while I made dinner. Unfortunately, his contraption makes so much noise that after about fifteen minutes I had to go outside and scream at him to cease and desist at once before my head exploded. It sounded way too much like logging equipment.
Of course Daisy thinks we only come up here to take her on hikes, so after dinner I changed from tennis shoes to hiking boots and we drove up the road toward Hungry 5 to the power lines. This is the same trail Milo hurt his paw on last time. Mark drove the first few hills of the power lines before parking, this way we were still climbing but not the same hills we have done before. We scared up three deer as we parked, and two turkey vultures. The turkey vultures landed on one of the power poles, so I took several photos of them sitting in stark relief.
They then took off and flew overhead, so I tried some flying shots, which were dismal failures. I still have a lot to learn.
It was very pretty and pleasant hiking along the power lines but way too much uphill for me. Mark said we could walk this trail all the way to Meander Lane and on to Nickerson Valley Rd. Just before we got to Meander Lane, there was a track that branched off to the left and ran along the ridge, so we walked that since it was more level! We spied some metal flashing in the setting sun and went to explore what it was. Turned out to be what had once been a deer feeding station that had a run-in with a black bear!
Yes, people, those ARE claw marks right through the galvanized metal!
Obviously this brand of feeder is not made to withstand Michigan black bear.
We hiked back to the FJ and Mark drove the trail back up to Meander Lane and then out to Hungry 5. While we were out we decided to drive part of the ATV trail between Voyer Lake and Stevens Spring to see the extent of the logging damage. It truly is impossible to believe how many acres they have clear-cut this year. I’ve been coming up here my entire life and have NEVER seen this much clear-cutting before. They even decimated the area where the “spring” of Stevens Spring went under the road! I was surprised by that, figuring that area was wetlands and therefore off limits. We won’t be seeing any marsh marigolds there next year.
Unless you’ve spent a lot of time up here, there’s really no way to describe what has been done in a way that a person can truly understand it. The sad part is, almost EVERYWHERE we drive that still has trees, they are marked with red, yellow or blue paint meaning they will be meeting their demise very soon. I have been told that much of it is trucked to Hillman to drive the wood-burning power plant, which seems like a very costly and inefficient source of power to me.
The days are getting much shorter and it was nearly dark by 8:30. It was early-to-bed for us because Mark wants to get a jumpstart on the garage sales in the morning, so we have to be out the door by 8 a.m.